TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Security cameras are supposed to make you feel more secure but they can give internet peeping toms a look at your life's most intimate moments. Without the right precautions, your cameras could be transmitting your life around the world.
Cameras plugged into the internet can show you a beautiful beach in California, a woman shopping in Texas and people drinking in New York.
They can also show you the inside of a cabin in Colorado, an elevator in Virginia and an office in South Africa.
Any predator who knew where to look could have watched this video feed of children in this school in Ohio. The feed flowed for three years. School superintendent Mark Miles cut it off minutes after a reporter told him about it.
“It was an open door. As a parent myself I would have a concern with that."
When the district added remote access to its cameras there was more access than it thought.
Miles says, "We thought that every single one of those cameras was password protected."
Most cameras do come with password protection---the one installed when they're built.
You get world-wide web-cam stalker sites because people don't change the passwords. People who go in for this sort of thing know the default passwords---and no, we're not going to help you find the sites.
At Acacia IT, Greg Durnan says at the very least change the username and password that came with the camera.
“And if you want to go further than that, getting someone that's actually a security expert to go through those settings and say, 'Hey these are the things you want to have on and want to have off in a router is a very good approach to take."
The right settings can make your internet connection and your cameras hard for video voyeurs to find.
Greg Durnan says, "Once you're into the network, your computer has a firewall as well. A lot of people turn those off. Don't do that. Leave it on. It does help. Make sure your computer's up to date because there's all the patching and Microsoft puts out all of their stuff every Tuesday with all of their patches and fixes and everything else. Make sure you've got at least the security ones going on."
That update advice goes for your browser, and software to fight viruses and malware.
Durnan says, "The more of these steps that you take, the more layers they have to go through to get to you, the less likely they're going to want to put in the effort to do it."
And when you’re not using a camera you can just cover it up.